Soul Music for Troubled Times an exclusive interview with acclaimed singer Sarah Brown

You may not know Sarah Brown’s name but you’ll definitely have heard her voice.  From her collaborations with legendary artists such as Simple Minds, George Michael, Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, Simply Red, Roxy Music & Pink Floyd. Sarah Brown is one of the most prolific and in-demand  vocalists in the world.  Sarah Browns’ debut album ‘Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson’ was released on 20th May 2022. The album sees Sarah offer her interpretations of some of the classic tracks of arguably the most famous gospel singer of the last century who gave Brown hope and sanctuary through hard times faced over the years. Having recently appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour performing her debut single ‘I’m On My Way’, she is currently on tour with Simple Minds with whom she has been playing with for the last 15 years.

Jim Kerr from Simple Minds comments: “In a sane world Sarah’s colossal talent would ensure that she would be front of stage every night, so I would be in the front row. Every night. I am her biggest fan after all”

I was lucky to be able to catch up with Sarah to find out a bit more about her new album & plans for the future.

Jamie: Sarah, what was the inspiration on releasing ‘I’m On My Way’ as the first single and why?

Sarah: Coming out of the pandemic of the last two years, I felt the message of this song was appropriate. Its about being determined to reach your goal. Placing one foot in front of the other until you get to where you want to be. Never giving up!

Jamie: Having had a very decorative career in the music industry as one of the most highly sort after singers in the world, you have worked with many exceptional bands. Is there any particular singer or band you have drawn the most inspiration from?

Sarah: Yes, I would say Incognito and Simple Minds. They both have shown great determination and grit. It really doesn’t matter the size of  their audience, 20 people or 90,0000 people, the performance is always powerful and full of energy.

Jamie: Why did you feel that now is the time to release your debut solo album?

Sarah: The pandemic made me realise that I would be most miserable if I couldn’t sing. For years I wanted to do something but I was crippled by fear. I figure if I don’t do it now I will never do it and I just would not be able to face myself. Facing my fear has helped me to move forward.

Jamie: How difficult was it to choose the musicians to play on the album and what was the style you were trying to achieve?

Sarah: It took me years to approach Colin Good (the piano player) because I was afraid he would say no. When I finally dug up the confidence to ask him he was delighted and pretty much understood what I wanted straight away. Colin, who is a fan of Ma Rainy and Bessy Smith suggested I ask Tom Wheatley (the bass player) who also
said yes straight away. I then thought Jerome Brown (on drums) and Luke Smith (on organ) would be perfect because they both come from totally different backgrounds to CD and TW which makes for great musical tension. The style I was trying to achieve was influenced by early Jazz, blues and the spirituals. I was only going to achieve this with the very best Musicians and that’s what I’ve got on this Album, all four musicians have worked with Giants in the music industry and you can hear their skill throughout the album. I am happy with the sound/style of the Album. It was always going to be an experiment, but I had no idea that it was going to sound as good and as authentic as it does sound. ‘Didn’t it Rain’ has a jazz feel. ‘Knowbody Knows’ has a spiritual feel then it goes into a swing jazz feel. ‘Walk over Gods Heaven’ has a hint of Rock & Roll with a bit of early swing. Totally AMAZING, SUCH FUN!!!!

Jamie: Do you plan to tour the album and if so what kind of venues would you like to play?

Sarah: I would love to tour the album. I know it will bring much joy to the audiences, (that was always my intention.) The type of venues that will best suit this body of work are venues like ‘Below Stone Nest’ in Shaftesbury Avenue London. St Pancras Old Church. Oran Mor Glasgow. These venues are acoustically brilliant for
the piano which features heavily and the upright Bass together with the organ and Drums. As a result of this, more and more jazz bands are using these spaces.

Jamie: Mahalia Jackson has been a great influence can you tell us why?

Sarah: Mahalia Jackson has inspired me from a young girl because she did not hold back with her vocals. Inevitably she moved me deep within. I learnt to sing from an honest place. As a result of this, I am often told that I move people deep within. I don’t know any other way of singing.

Sarah is a wonderfully charismatic beautiful human being. She has bought colour, light and exceptional sound to so many others. Now it is time for her to shine!


For more information please visit:

Photo Credit: Andrew Cotterill